‘Not in kindergarten’: Tharoor on relationship with Congress leaders in Kerala

Shashi Tharoor speaks to media. Photo: File/Manorama

Kochi: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said he has not acted against the party’s directives and he did not know why a controversy was created over his recent political trip in the state. Tharoor said he was not upset or angry with anyone in the Congress state leadership.

He was speaking to media here as he came to attend a state-level conclave of the All India Professionals' Congress.

"We are not in kindergarten to refrain from talking to each other," Tharoor said when reporters asked him whether he would interact with state Congress chief K Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan. Both the top leaders were scheduled to participate in the AIPC event. Sudhakaran inaugurated the event online. Tharoor said Sudhakaran did not attend the event physically as he was unwell.

"I am not upset or angry with anyone. I have not blamed or accused anyone. There are no complaints or issues from my end. I have no problem seeing everyone as one and neither do I have any reservations about speaking to anyone," Tharoor said before the event.

Asked about Satheesan, he said that "if we see each other at the venue, then we will see. If they talk to me, will I not respond? We are not in kindergarten to refrain from talking or speaking to each other. But if we are not in the same place at the same time, how will we talk or speak to one another?".

Satheesan, without naming Tharoor, had recently said that any kind of sectarianism or parallel activities would not be allowed in the party and warned that such moves would be dealt with "seriously".

There were also media reports that Satheesan was reluctant to speak to Tharoor even as both of them sat next to each other during function in Thiruvananthapuram.

It was one of several remarks made by the LoP in the wake of Tharoor's Malabar tour which seems to have rattled a significant section in Congress in the state with a few of them sensing an "agenda" behind his move.

Tharoor's opponents in the party feel that through his programmes, he was trying to position himself as an ideal chief ministerial candidate of the Congress-led UDF for the 2026 Assembly polls to end the rule of the CPM-led LDF, which has been in power since 2016.

In the wake of the brewing controversy over his recent tour, the disciplinary panel of KPCC, on Saturday, issued a strict directive to its leaders not to bypass the respective party forums while attending programmes in each place and directed the leaders to intimate them in advance.

When this was pointed out to the Thiruvananthapuram MP by reporters on Sunday, he said that District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents are always informed whenever he attends any public event.

However, if it was a private event, there was no need to inform DCC presidents about the same, he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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